A flamenco feeling

CNJ Staff Photo: Andy DeLisle
Arissa Rodriguez of Clovis, left, snaps a photo of Angela Quintanar during her performance Saturday at the Ethnic Fair in downtown Clovis. The fair, which ended Saturday, marked its 15th year.

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ Staff Writer

As a blend of Spanish-flavored acoustic guitars thundered through the speakers, Catalina Rio Fernandez stood poised on a makeshift dance floor. Fernandez, founder of Flamenco Nuevo Mejico, was one of several performers who entertained on Main Street during Saturday’s 15th Annual Ethnic Fair.

The 40-year-old petite dancer drew a large crowd as she performed an “Interpretation of the Matador Dance.” Bystanders clapped and shouted encouragement as Fernandez’s black heels beat a staccato tempo. Outfitted in an ornate gold and white costume, Fernandez portrayed both the bull and matador during her expressive solo routine.

Ethnic Fair attendee Clayton Ortiz intently watched the talented dancer from a front row seat. The 27-year-old Clovis resident said he adored Fernandez and considered the flamenco dancers to be the best part of the event. “It’s (flamenco dancing) the best,” Ortiz said. “I love the style, movement and grace.”

Ortiz, who dances himself, said he dreams of learning the flamenco style. “I wish Catalina (Rio Fernandez) would teach me,” he said.

Arissa Rodriguez, who attended the fair with Ortiz, jumped up often to snap pictures of the various dancers. “This is my third year (to come to the Ethnic Fair),” Rodriguez said. “I like it because you get to see different styles of dancing.”
“This is what we (Clovis) need,” Rodriguez said, “everyone from different cultures coming together.”

Other performances included young women belting out songs in Spanish and martial arts students displaying their skills.

Main Street was lined with vendors offering ethnic wares — including African clothing and silver American Indian jewelry. Other vendors offered a variety of food including barbecue and funnel cakes. Children laughed in delight as they slid down an inflated slide and jumped in a bounce house. Further down the street, classic cars sat with their gleaming hoods propped open so passersby could admire their chrome-filled insides.

Event coordinator Selmus Price lauded the weather. “Look at the beautiful day,” he said as he addressed the crowd during the opening ceremony. “God is good. “